The Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) has dispatched a team of detectives to hunt for poachers in the Murchison Falls National Park.
A source at CID that preferred anonymity told journalists that 13 detectives commanded by Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Francis Olugu, have been dispatched to hunt for poachers.
ACP Olugu is also the head of CID’s general crimes desk.
“There are many cases of poaching being followed by CID. A number of animals have been poached during the COVID-19 lockdown. CID team wants to have all suspects arrested and their files should be prepared within the shortest time so that they can be prosecuted,” the source said.
When contacted, ACP Olugu confirmed that he was in Murchison Falls National Park particularly in Nwoya and Oyam districts for investigations related to poaching. However, Olugu declined to divulge details of cases being followed.
The source further revealed that the team has gone to hunt for armed poachers and traffickers, hence, the team is reportedly accompanied by armed soldiers, game rangers and police officers purposely to provide security to the detectives.
“These poachers are armed with guns especially in Nwoya and Oyam. They are targeting buffaloes, elephants, warthog and antelopes. These poachers eat the meat themselves but also sell to other people. They also sell other products such as tusks,” a police detective said.
CID and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) recorded 768 cases of poaching and wildlife trafficking last year which is an 18.5 percent increase compared to 648 registered in 2018. UWA and CID attributed the increase in number of poaching and wildlife trafficking cases to enormous foot and motorised patrols.
“The increase is also attributed to vigilance at exit points like Entebbe International Airport and other border points by Law Enforcement Agencies who intercept animal and animal products,” CID report indicates.
Last year, 4457kgs of raw elephant ivory valued Shs12b were recovered, 551kgs of pangolin scales worth Shs6b were recovered and 20 live pangolins worth Sh74m were also rescued.
Other wildlife species rescued from poachers and traffickers in 2019 include four live crested cranes valued Shs75m and 15 tortoises worth Shs3.7m.
One of the foreign nationals who were arrested in wildlife trafficking was Muazoa Karoumah, a Liberian.
Karoumah was blacklisted as an international wildlife trafficking kingpin whose illegal wildlife trade stretched from East to West Africa.
CID and UWA said Karoumah had associates in Uganda, Kenya and Senegal.